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Updated On: Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Development Issues

Reintegrating Child Soldiers

Content by: South-South News

8 June 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, said on June 6 that she “strongly” believes that reintegration support for former child soldiers should be “fundamental to emergency recovery and peace building efforts” and also be part of conflict prevention.

Speaking at a meeting on “Reintegration of children formerly associated with armed groups and armed forces” at UN Headquarters, the Special Representative reiterated “reintegration and rehabilitation efforts must be sustainable through time and cannot depend just on the international efforts.”

Gamba highlighted “capacity building and resources for national, sustainable reintegration and rehabilitation efforts must also be supported sooner rather than later.”

Kabba Williams is a former child soldier who was abducted by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone when he was seven years old.

Recalling his experience, Williams told delegates “as a child, we are forced to fight in a war that we did not understand, and did nothing to cause it, but we suffered terribly because of it. We had no choice but to do what we were ordered to do. If we refuse, we would be brutally killed, like many of my friends.”

Williams also said “children are not war tools or objects and the likes. We are partners for developments. A successful post-conflict reconstruction depends on the successful reintegration of the former child soldiers, now young adults. The challenges of their reintegration into peaceful society must be addressed for these young people to play an important and positive role as agent of peace.”

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